UN warns CO2 emissions on rise for first time in 4 years

November 28, 2018, 10:19 am

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations on Tuesday called for more efforts to fight climate change as a new report showed global carbon dioxide emissions rose for the first time in four years.

The 2018 Global Emissions Report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) showed that global carbon dioxide emissions rose again during 2017 after a three-year hiatus, highlighting the imperative for countries to deliver on the historic Paris Agreement to keep global warming to below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The report came just days before the key UN climate change conference, known as COP 24, is to be held in Katowice, Poland, with the agency urging nations to triple their efforts to curb harmful emissions.

The UNEP report also came hot on the heels of the watershed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming, released in October, which cautioned that emissions had to stop rising now, in order to keep temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and reduce the risks for the well-being of the planet and its people.

Heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere is largely responsible for rising global temperatures, according to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence. UNEP's 2018 report indicated that global emissions have reached historic levels.

The total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 53.5 Gigatons (Gt) in 2017, an increase of 0.7 Gt compared with 2016.

"In contrast, global GHG emissions in 2030 need to be approximately 25 percent and 55 percent lower than in 2017 to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees respectively," said the report.

What's worse, the report noted is that there is no sign of reversal of this trend and that only 57 countries (representing 60 percent of global emissions) are on track to bridge their "emissions gap" - meaning "the gap between where we are likely to be and where we need to be."

The authors of the report noted that nations would need to triple their efforts on climate action without further delay, in order to meet the two-degree-rise limit by mid-century.

The report offered concrete ways for governments to bridge their emissions gap, including through fiscal policy, innovative technology, non-state and subnational action, and more.

The ninth UNEP emissions report was prepared by an international team of leading scientists, assessing all available information. (Xinhua)